Polari’s editor announces a new arts festival, Qr, explains where Polari is going next and why it is no longer publishing as a website magazine.
On the 3rd of December 2014, to mark its 6th birthday, Polari Magazine enters a new stage of its history. No longer will the website be updated with new articles purely because the way that we use the internet has changed, and the way that people obtain information from it has evolved. The idea of a magazine website is not the same as it was even 3 years ago, when Polari relaunched with a new look and build. In-depth articles and lengthy reviews are, more and more, suited to different mediums. The evolution of the tablet and the Kindle, as well as that of the smartphone, has altered the way that information is disseminated and read. Where printed magazines once were, the tablet and the Kindle now are – but the website is somewhere else. And so Polari Magazine, which has always been delivered as a website, equally needs to evolve. That said, the content from the last six years, content of which I am really proud, will be maintained as an archive as this process of evolution occurs.
As an arts and culture publication, Polari has been involved in a variety of on-the-ground projects and worked with a host of creative talents. The first stage of its latest evolution is the announcement of a very different arts festival, Qr, which will launch in October 2015. (You can visit qrfest.com right now.) Qr, like Polari Magazine, is intended to be a high-end, real alternative on the festival circuit, with the aim of exploring queer culture in a way that makes it stand out from its contemporaries.
The first play produced under the Polari banner, In The Life: A History of Polari, played at the St James Theatre in June 2013. As a result of that play we worked with one of its stars, Champagne Charlie, and the broadcasting company Pup Ltd, to create a video of one of the featured songs, ‘Bona Eke’. The video and the song will be released for digital download on the 8th of December. It’s a spell-binding performance by Champagne Charlie, and an exceptional video from Pup’s Daniel Hall. And it’s a taste of what you can expect from the future of Polari.
For its six years, Polari Magazine has been run as a community project and put together wholly in the time lent by its founders and contributors. It has been run on the sheer energy of those invested in the project with no external financial input. Then, it was never intended to be a product, but rather a real alternative to the litany of soulless lifestyle magazines and websites whose ends are sacrificed to commercial needs. That was achieved through finding a team of exceptional contributors without whom these high aims would never have been met. It is sad that we’ve struggled to get the support of key figures in the community, and that our content was not shared on social networks by such groups, barring a few notable exceptions.
In an era of information overload, and the punchy immediacy of social networks, a website needs quick fire stories, and the extensive use of hyperbole to catch a reader’s attention. “And you won’t believe what happens next…” This is not what Polari is about and so it is time to refocus. As well as the on-the-ground work with arts festival Qr, we’ll be looking for a publisher interested in running Polari Magazine as a digital and paper quarterly. It is the medium to which it truly belongs – not the fleeting world of the web, but the storehouse of our culture that can be read, and can travel, anywhere.